July 13, 2020

Purrfect shelter from the storm > Animal boarding facilities bustling with pets displaced by power outages

Corelyn Senn of Lincolnville Beach has seen her share of frosty felines this week.

The owner of the Cat’s Pajamas Bed and Breakfast kitty boarding business, Senn has taken in about two dozen domestic cats brought by concerned owners who have no power or heat at home.

The cats have made life a bit busier for Senn, whose telephone rings day and night since she called a Bangor radio station last Thursday and offered to shelter cats from the storm — for free.

Like others in the animal boarding business, Senn is experiencing brisk activity since the start of the ice-out that is going into its second week.

Kennels and animal clinics in the Bangor area fortunate enough to keep their power are full of furry and feathered boarders. Pet owners, emboldened by restored electricity to their homes, began to collect their pets from kennel cages midweek, but high winds and snow Thursday and Friday refilled cages that were temporarily empty.

At the Cat’s Pajamas, Senn said, the extra feline guests have not posed a crowding problem. Used to boarding as many as 46 cats at Christmas, Senn said the animals get the same treatment as the regular clients who await the return of vacationing owners.

The animals came from homes that had reached temperatures as low as 25 degrees before their owners sought more habitable space, Senn said.

Concerned that people and pets were staying in frozen homes long after they should have left — mainly because shelters and motels won’t accept animals — Senn said she decided to perform the service for free.

Most people shut out of their homes “are in enough turmoil without worrying how to pay for their cat’s boarding bill,” Senn said.

Animal caretakers in Greater Bangor coped with power outages, creeping coldness and panicky pet owners to shelter furry and feathered creatures.

While furred creatures often fare well in cold temperatures, exotic pets left in powerless, unheated homes need more attention to stay alive, according to a local veterinarian.

Chris Miles of the Veazie Veterinary Clinic urged owners of parrots, iguanas and exotic snakes to take extra precautions to keep their pets warm.

While reptiles can tolerate lower temperatures, it is essential to keep temperatures above 55 degrees to maintain the health of most exotic birds, Miles said.

Miles said owners of parrots and parakeets living in homes without electricity can fill jugs with hot water to create makeshift heating pads for their feathered friends. Stones heated over a wood stove and wrapped in a towel also help the creatures retain body heat.

Exotic fish are a concern in power outages, Miles said. Goldfish can tolerate temperatures as low as 32 degrees, but more exotic breeds such as angel fish need higher temperatures to survive.

Owners should add fresh water to fish tanks to keep the oxygen levels up, Miles said.

At Carden Kennels in Bangor, manager Debbie Paton said her staff has been busy tending 20 extra dogs and eight extra cats brought in from the storm. The facility also has a room full of exotic birds, rabbits and other creatures. At midweek, Paton accepted 11 just-weaned puppies which could not tolerate a cold house in Washington County.

At the Penobscot Veterinary Clinic in Bangor, technician Kathy Stewart, who had tended turtles, cats, dogs and other creatures brought in from the storm, took home one of her own pets, a female iguana named Jerry Garcia, after a few days at the clinic. Oddly enough, Stewart’s four exotic birds fared well in her powerless apartment, which had been dark for four days during the height of the storm.

The iguana, however, needed extra help.

“She was a little stressed, but she was better off at the hospital than in my cold apartment,” said Stewart, whose electric power came back Jan. 11.

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